Burnt remains of the pilot of the ill-fated MiG-29 fighter aircraft have been found by IAF search teams, 19 days after the plane crashed in Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh.

Some remains of 32-year-old Squadron Leader Dharmendra Singh Tomar, who hails from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, were found in the cockpit near the Gangstang glacier in Kherot village in the Chokhang hills at an altitude of 15,000-17,000 feet on Saturday, Western Air Command spokesman Wing Commander S K Mehta told PTI in Delhi.

“Some more parts of the engine, wings and cockpit, but smaller in size, have been recovered in the area. Now the search is on to locate the Flight Data Recorder (black box),” he said.

“The exact reasons of the crash would only be known only after the inquiry is over and ground search teams are looking for the Flight Data Recorder,” he said.

The last village on this route is Kherot after which the area is identified as Chokhang Hills, Mehta said.

The evidences have been sent for forensic examination and the family members of Tomar, who are camping at Adampur air base, have been informed about the development, he said.

Tomar is married to Neha, a housewife and they have a two-and-a-half year-old son, Veer.

“We are not believing the news. Our hopes are still alive. We are waiting for further information,” Tomar’s brother Shiloo told PTI from the Adampur air base. “The entire family is praying for my brother,” he said.

IAF’s Search and Rescue team had reached the accident site nine days after the MiG-29, which was on a routine training mission, crashed on the night of October 18.

The search and rescue mission was hampered due to bad weather and fresh snow fall in the area. Identification of the site where the plane had crashed and collection of the debris has been a very difficult task, he said.

The MiG-29 was on a night mission after taking off from Adampur for Jalandhar.

In order to locate the wreckage, IAF had launched a massive search operation and had flown different types of aircraft including Sukhoi-30 MKI, AN-32 transport plane and helicopters over the area.

Satellite imageries were also used to gain information of the aircraft as fresh snow fall and bad weather had slowed down the mission.

Keywords: MiG-29 crash

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